Posts filed under ‘Colon Research’

Blowing Into Test Tubes aka My SIBO Test

Last week, I had the unique experience of testing for SIBO – Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth. Characterized by symptoms like:  bloating;  gas; pain; diarrhea; irritable bowel syndrome; and other *fun* things, I thought SIBO had just become my middle name.

My friends at Midwest GI were explaining what exactly SIBO was, and suggested I take the test for it. I agreed since it seemed easy enough. I got a small kit to take home to do a breath test with simple instructions to follow. Yep, just like the cops test for booze, except this test is better – it’s testing for bacteria in your small intestine! Woo hoo!

The day before the test, I had to follow a strict diet. This wasn’t too hard, since it was basically the diet I followed post-colon surgery. I could only eat white bread, rice, meat and eggs. Here’s what my menu looked like:

Breakfast of bagels & toast

We call them "toad in the holes" (basically an egg in grilled bread)

Now, I will admit…. it started to get a little harder to follow at dinner.

Cookout! Grilled hot dogs and hamburgers

Sort of hard to pass all of this up.

I followed this diet for 24 hours before my test. Though challenging at times, I got through it. I woke up the next morning ready to dive in and blow into some test tubes!

I had to wait an hour after I woke up to begin. I started getting the preparations ready by laying out all of the kit’s contents and triple-checking the instructions. I also had to remind myself that I could not work out an hour before, nor anytime during, the test. Needless to say, I was ready to begin.

The Testing Begins

I took an initial baseline test, drank this sugary-substance stuff, and then blew into a new test tube every 20 minutes.

Halfway there!

Because I had to stay nearby, it was a great way to get some things done. But yes, after three hours of blowing into test tubes and not eating, I was ready for it to be over.


I finished all ten test tubes and then drove it back to Midwest GI for them to run the report. Super easy, and painless. I was so thankful that I could do it at home.

In my case, the test ended up negative – I do not have an overgrowth of bacertia in my small intestine. I’m guessing more of my complications have to do with post-surgery stuff, and because I only have a few inches of large intestine, much of my digesting is taking place in the small intestine. However, for anyone who does have their entire colon and still can relate to the IBS-like symptoms, I recommend getting tested! Even if you don’t have your whole colon, it’s worth getting tested if you’re having some similiar problems like too much gas or bloating. It’s an easy test, and could be the solution to your GI-related problems.

For more info about the SIBO test, click here.

May 11, 2010 at 10:59 pm Leave a comment

Sharing my Blue with the Red

While this blog is dedicated to colon health and colon cancer awareness, today I feel its important to share the spotlight with another important cause: heart health. So while I’m usually bleeding blue (color for colon cancer), today I will move over and give the spotlight to red. Because after all, that’s what all of us wish pink would do once and a while, right?

Today is National Wear Red Day. It’s a day dedicated to bringing awareness of heart disease and stroke in women (and men too). Like colon cancer, it has as a risk of sneaking up on you unexpectedly and many assume it’s just a “man’s disease.” The truth is though, stroke and heart attacks impact women just as much as men, and it’s actually the number ONE killer of women in America. Surprised? I was. The good news is, like colon cancer, it’s preventable.

Two of the easiest things you can to is to:

1. Know the warning signs and symptoms of heart attack, stroke and other heart-related problems.

2. Eat heart-healthy meals.

I encourage you to be aware of this health risk, and to inform yourself. Visit the Go Red website for more info. And eat an apple today, will ya?

February 5, 2010 at 4:58 pm Leave a comment

The Dairy Dilemma – Part 2

Sorry, folks! I am a triple-blog liar! But finally we have The Dairy Dilemma – Part 2.
(In case you are wondering, my bro’s colonoscopy was clean and clear! Yay for him!)

As I mentioned in The Dairy Dilemma – Part 1, dairy can be hard on the semi-colon’s sytem … and most people’s systems these days. I gave some tips that I’ve learned that have worked for me, and hopefully they’ll help you digest the yummy dairy goodness if you too cannot live without it.

The topic needed a second day because I’ve recently learned things about dairy that have made me very concerned! Once I decided I’d stick with dairy and learn how and what to eat, I became aware of an even bigger problem that affects all of us, not just semi-colons.

Mike’s aunt & uncle sent me a book this past summer called “An Unhealthy Truth” by Robin O’Brien. I dove into it a few months ago and came out as a wide-eyed and concerned consumer regarding what is in our food. In the book, O’Brien uncovers corruption between the FDA and many major food and pesticide corporations who are using genetically modified, synthetic or hormone-treated crops or livestock to make big bucks. I’m typically one who sits back to see if an issue is all “hype” or not – but when I learned that many other countries around world have banned the use of such products and hormones, I started to sense a problem. And for me, I was especially concerned with our dairy.

O’Brien explains, “Most of the nation’s leading dairy processors use milk from cows treated with the bovine growth hormone in at least some of it’s products… ” (p. 109) Bovine Growth Hormone (rBST or rBGH)  is a chemical given to cows to make them “step up milk production.” And while this doesn’t seem like such a bad thing, it’s adverse effects on cows can make you wonder. O’Brien’s book says that:

“The product seems to be hazardous to the cows. The package itself warns of such bovine problems as increases in ‘cystic ovaries and disorders of the uterus,’ ‘decreases in gestation length and birth-weight of calves,’ and ‘increased risk of clinical mastitis’ ‘(a painful type of udder infection that causes cows to pump out bacteria and pus along with milk requiring treatment with antibiotics and other meds that can end up in the milk.” (p. 99)

Sorry to gross you out, but those simple truths made me very concerned. I am an individual with some sort of cancer-causing gene mutation, and so to hear that the majority of the food I’ve been eating is from genetically-modified, hormone-enhanced and possibly antiobiotic-laced cows or crops worries me. Especially when it’s pointed out that:

“90-percent of breast cancers being diagnosed today are being triggered by factors in our environment.” (p.102).

“IFG-1 has also been implicated in prostate and colon cancer.” (IGF-1 is a hormone that can be found in milk, and is found in rBGH milk up to 10 times more than the levels of natural milk, and possibly even twentyfold according to more recent studies.” “It’s been known for years that the particular hormone is linked with cancers (because of its effects) on the endocrine sysem,’ says Dr. Pompilio.(p. 102-103)

“According to CNN and a recent study published in the Journal of Allergy and Immunology, milk allergy is now the most common food allergy in the United States, having risen to the number one position in the last ten years.”(p. 100)

After reading the research and studies, I was ready to change. But the nail in the coffin for me was O’Brien’s statement about what the FDA is requiring, which to me, is so sickening because of the corruption and greed:

“If a dairy wanted to highlight the fact that its milk had NOT been made with rBGH (you know, for those of us who might have an interest in avoiding this potentially carcionogenic hormone), the FDA recommended it to also state on the label that there was no difference between the genetically altered hormone that Monsanto had developed (company manufacturing the rBGH) and the regular old bovine growth hormone that already occured in nature.” (p. 104)

And when I went to Kansas City’s beloved Shatto milk’s website. I saw that to be true – there was a small disclaimer on their homepage that although they were rBGH-free, there has been no proven difference. What a load of crap. Because of lawsuits that have favored the rBGH-making Monsanto, local dairies priding themselves for not using artificial growth hormones now have to tip-toe around just to share their story and safety with consumers.

So friends, here we are. I was overwhelmed after I read this. Mainly because 1) This is all that I’ve consumed my entire life. We didn’t know! 2) I cannot afford to go all-organic, and 3) This is too big for me!

But as I began to do some research and finish O’Brien’s book, I learned it was possible to do something! And while it’s not wise to jump in the cold pool all at once, baby steps into the water will help make the swim much easier. Here’s what I’ve done so far, and what I’d encourage you in if you’re concerned now too.

1. Read the book. It gave great advice about adopting an 80/20 policy so you don’t kill yourself over being totally hormone-free or organic. This has helped me tremendously, as I still buy regular butter and feel comfortable in restaurants and other’s homes. Dairy is just one of the foods she tackles too… read the book for the full scoop on many of our beloved brands.

2. I began researching safe brands in my area. O’Brien lists several safe brands and stores, but not many are close to me in the KC Metro area. For you who are local to KC, here are some brands that can be found in the area that are safe and rBGH-free. I’m sure this is not a comprehensive list. If you have any to add, leave a comment and let me know!

  • Any Organic Products (to be labeled organic they have to be rBGH-free by definition). Hy-Vee, Target, Wal-Mart and many other stores are carrying organic lines of dairy, and some (like Hy-Vee) even have their own organic store brand.
  • Wal-Mart’s “Great Value” milk (milk only, not cheese or other products at this time)
  • Yoplait yogurt (sneakers, they started making rBGH-free this past August but are keeping it on the down-low.)
  • Kraft’s  2% brand of cheese (only one at this time)
  • Shatto Milk Company (milk can be found at Hy-Vee, Price Chopper, Nature’s Pantry)
  • Ben & Jerry’s ice cream
  • Starbucks’ milk – as a company they vow to not use rBGH milk (or preservatives in their cookies for that matter.)
  • Chipotle – their food is hormone-free
  • I believe I read that Cabot cheese is going rBGH-free due to consumer demand.

3. I told somebody. It all starts with passing along the info. If you’re concerned too – tell somebody. Maybe together we can turn this around and one day be a country in-line with Europe, Australia, Russia and even Africa and demand that our country can prioritize making dairy (and other foods for that matter) safe over profitable. I just wonder how many more of us will have to lose colons, breasts, lungs, prostates and other vital organs to cancer to get this point across. Even if the dairy dilemma didn’t cause it … it’s certainly not helping it.

November 20, 2009 at 7:12 pm 3 comments

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